It was a dream come true for fans of the hit American 90’s sitcom F.R.I.E.N.D.S, when Central Perk Cafe opened in Singapore in November last year. Its burgeoning popularity ever since could be accredited to word of mouth, social media and well – just plain old nostalgia. It all started when 28-year-old Mit Jin pitched the idea on international crowd-funding platform Indiegogo. And it was a decision he would never regret. With a long list of enthused investors and an official license from Warner Bros, he was on a roll. And he still is.
How did you make this happen?
I used to be a headhunter. Six years ago, I went to China on an internship and saw a F.R.I.E.N.D.S imitation cafe. People were sitting around, enjoying a cup of coffee and watching the show. The experience stayed with me. I’ve always been a huge fan of the show, and I wondered if I could bring the concept to Singapore. But I never knew there was any real demand.
So one day I was interviewing this candidate for Grab. He had some experience in the space of mobile, cafe marketing. He pointed me in the direction of crowd-funding. And when I explored it, I realized what a powerful marketing tool it was. I produced and uploaded a pitch video on Indiegogo, and it got viral. A lot of investors started showing an interest.
How did you decide on the layout?
We brainstormed through hundreds of ideas. But none of those really matched up to the expectations of F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Finally, we decided to replicate the entire studio. So now, we have Ross’ corner, Monica’s kitchen, Chandler and Joey’s foosball table…
Say no more. Let’s take a tour and see them for real!
Alright then. Let’s go (smiles).
If you think that was cool, it gets even better. The recipes and flavors used in the menu items reflect the personalities of the characters. Rachel ‘Green’ salad, Phoebe’s Nutty vegetarian salad and Janice’s ‘Oh My God’ Baby Black Ribs are just a few examples. As US video blogger and YouTuber Steve puts it, “This place is great! With the theme, the TVs, the props, the food. I especially liked the concept of blending character themes and personalities into the food and flavor.”
You’ll definitely love it if you are a fan of the show. Even if you aren’t, I say give it a shot.
Address: 1 Magazine Road, Central Mall #01-01 Singapore 059567
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/centralperksingapore
Operating hours: Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays 11 am to 11 pm; Fridays and Saturdays open till late. Closed on Mondays.